President Ashamed By Gender-Based Violence

PRESIDENT Hifikepunye Pohamba said he was ashamed by the high levels of gender-based violence and the hideous crimes committed against women by Namibian men.

Speaking at the second National Gender-Based Violence Conference, organised by the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday in the capital, Pohamba said the country has gained a shameful reputation because of the ongoing violence.

“What kind of a society am I leading? We continue to lose innocent lives, especially those of women and girls as a result of gender-based violence, perpetrated mostly by men. We are destroying the good name of our country,” he said.

The conference running under the theme ‘Unifying Action to Eliminate Gender-Based Violence in Namibia’ was attended by different stakeholders, among them traditional leaders, gender-based violence survivors, and church leaders.

The chairperson of the Council of Traditional Leaders, Immanuel Gaseb, said the Namibian society has lost its moral values.

“GBV can be stopped if we put our minds to it. If parents see their daughters are being abused, take them back home. The society also does not take responsibility when a woman is attacked in public. They rather take pictures and post it on social media. This must stop. This war is ours and we need to fight it together,” Gaseb said.

The audience was stunned when a gender-based violence survivor, Bernadette Eises, told her story of abuse through a social worker from the Women and Child Protection Unit.

“Bernadette was a businesswoman and she lost everything. She was abused for years. She laid three GBV cases against her boyfriend but she would withdraw them until he beat her so badly that she lost her speech,” the social worker said.

The Legal Assistance Centre’s Yolandy Engelbrecht called on the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare to build more homes for women and children.

“The withdrawal of GBV cases is on the increase because most of the women have no other choice than to go back to the boyfriends or husbands. They have nowhere else to go. We also call on traditional leaders to be strict and fair when it comes to these cases. They should not be paid to dismiss GBV and rape cases,” Engelbrecht said.

The conference, which started yesterday, ends tomorrow.

Source : The Namibian